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GolfWRX Morning 9: Better matchups than Tiger-Phil | Remembering the Skins Game | More arguments for watching The Match

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By Ben Alberstadt (ben.alberstadt@golfwrx.com)

November 22, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving, golf fans. I’m truly thankful for all of you that open this email every day (and only slightly less thankful for those of you who only open it some days). But truly, wishing you the best this holiday.
1. Instead of Tiger-Phil…
Michael Collins put down the microphone and stopped posting to social media long enough to do a bit of writing for ESPN. He proposes alternatives to the Tiger-Phil match that he’d rather see. Good stuff!
  • “Patrick Reed vs. Jordan Spieth...I know Reed would do most of the smack-talking — until Spieth got to a boiling point. That’s what everyone would be paying to see.”
  • “Dustin Johnson vs. Brooks Koepka…You’ll have to keep checking your television to make sure it’s not on mute. It won’t be. Oh, it’ll feel like it though. Silence. That’s exactly how much talking will be going on. They might mumble a word or two to each other, and we know what that would sound like. So … Vegas side bet: Over/under on how many times you hear “bro” or “brah” is set at 125.”
  • “Justin Thomas vs. Ian Poulter…Here’s the rule: Neither of them can talk. Just let them be surrounded by hecklers and see what happens. Poulter’s hecklers are chosen from Twitter and Thomas’ come only from select Auburn fans.”
2. Meanwhile, in Melbourne…
BBC Report…”England’s Tyrrell Hatton and Ian Poulter hold a share of the lead after the first round of the World Cup of Golf in Australia. In the opening round of fourballs, the pair shot a bogey-free 10-under par round of 62 in Melbourne.”
“They are level with Australia’s Marc Leishman and Cameron Smith as well as South Korean duo Kim Si-woo and An Byeong-hun. The two-man teams compete in alternate shot foursomes in Friday’s round two.”
3. What the Tour will be watching during Tiger-Phil
Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard…”The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in May to overturn the 1992 federal law that banned commercial sports betting in most states created a bold new landscape for all sports leagues, but particularly the Tour.”
  • “Assuming we get to the right place with fan protections and using the right data, our sport is in such a unique position,” Monahan said. “You look at the stick-and-ball sports, you see the ball, there’s one ball and one group of players that are all in front of you. You can see everything on one screen.
  • “In our sport, you’ve got 78 players out on the golf course at one point in time and we’ve got a system in ShotLink that produces a significant amount of data and a significant amount of possibilities. Think about what that can mean for our game, for our fans, it’s exciting.”
  • Those possibilities will get something of a cold open on Friday when Mickelson and Woods tee off at Shadow Creek. Although some say The Match is a decade too late, it’s a perfect model for officials to gauge fan interest of potential “in-play” betting. Although the Tour doesn’t have any historical data about Shadow Creek, Mickelson’s track record from, say, 10 feet (he ranked 164th last season on Tour with a 33.8 percent conversion) is well documented.
4. Another defense of The Match
This time, it’s Adam Woodard at USA Today telling you why you should watch. Countless (like, 4) reasons, he says.
  • A bit of his argument…”Both players won a PGA Tour event last season. Mickelson won the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship, an event where only the world’s best qualify, and Woods won the Tour Championship, the final event of the Tour season featuring the year’s top 30 players.”
  • “Sponsors put up the $9 million prize, but Woods and Mickelson will pony up some of their own money on side bets throughout the competition, with all the money going to charity. On Tuesday, Mickelson baited Woods into a $200,000 bet that he will birdie the opening hole. Expect plenty more just like that.”
  • “Other expected bets will be long drive and closest-to-the-pin contests, with both players also likely proposing money challenges on putts and up-and-downs. The bets will likely be in the range of $10,000 to $50,000 per wager.”
  • “Both players and their caddies will be wearing microphones. Drone coverage will deliver “camera angles that have never been seen before for a live golf event,” according to a Turner Sports press release. Real-time, hole-by-hole statistics on the screen will display the probability of different outcomes.”
5. Remembering the Skins Game
Excellent stuff from Alex Myers at Golf Digest remembering the dearly departed Skins Game.
  • He rounds up a few of the most memorable moments, including…”Tom Watson accused Gary Player of cheating…”For the most part, the Skins Game epitomized hit-and-giggle golf, but things got a bit testy between two of the game’s legends during the inaugural event in 1983. With $120,000 on the line on the 16th hole, Watson was overheard confronting Player about allegedly illegally improving his lie by patting down a root behind his ball. Here’s what New York Times columnist Dave Anderson wrote:”
  • “From 30 feet away, Tom Watson could be heard saying, ‘I’m accusing you, Gary … you can’t do that … I’m tired of this … I wasn’t watching you, but I saw it.’ Gary Player could be heard defending himself, saying at one point, ‘I was within the rules.'”
  • “Watson maintained his belief that Player-knowingly or unknowingly-cheated and issued a statement the following day that said in part, “If we overlook the rules, then the game as we know it would become something much less than it is. My greatest regret, though, is that this private matter became a public incident.”
6. Vic Open, featuring men and women, will be co-sanctioned by LPGA Tour (Euro Tour too)
AP Report…”Golf Australia says the 2019 Vic Oen, which features both men and women playing simultaneously, will be co-sanctioned by the LPGA tour….The men’s portion of the tournament has already been announced to be on the European Tour next year.”
“Golf Australia said Wednesday the Vic Open will be held at 13th Beach Golf Links west of Melbourne from Feb. 7-10….The Women’s Australian Open, which has been on the LPGA tour for eight years, will now be part of a two-week Australian swing.”
7. Jack Nicklaus, President Trump tee it up
AP Report…”President Donald Trump is spending the first day of his Thanksgiving break taking advantage of the good golfing weather.”
  • “White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham says the president was playing “a quick round” on Wednesday with golf legend Jack Nicklaus, Nicklaus’s professional golfer son Gary, and his grandson G.T.”
  • “The trip is Trump’s first of the season to his private Mar-a-Lago club, where he typically spends Thanksgiving, Christmas and many winter weekends.”
8. Top Tiger-Phil showdowns
Great stuff from the Golfweek staff rounding up the best Woods-Mickelson showdowns from the past two decades.
  • It’d be unfair to just poach their No. 1 entry, so here’s No. 2…”2007 Deutsche Bank Championship”
  • “This is, without a doubt, Mickelson’s most impressive triumph in a duel with Woods. Mickelson began the final round two back and Woods was three behind. With this duo paired together and playing well that Monday, it would ultimately come down to them.”
  • “Lefty piled up five birdies in the opening 10 holes and was so dominant early on that this appeared it would be a rout. In fact, Woods was five back of Mickelson with seven to play. But the pressure would intensify. Mickelson made a sloppy double bogey at the 12th and Woods buried a 40-footer for birdie at the 14th to cut the lead to two.”
  • “The climax arrived at the par-3 16th, where Woods stepped up and knocked his tee shot to 10 feet. Mickelson answered in the cauldron by stuffing his approach 6 feet under the hole. Woods rolled in his birdie putt, but Mickelson calmly buried his own to retain an important two-shot margin.”
  • “It was a huge moment for Mickelson – who would go on to win by two shots – proving he could outduel Woods as Lefty was in the major-winning phase of his career.”
9. The biggest influence on your child’s development in sports
Interesting piece, as our Thomas Devine, a junior golf instructor and director of the Future Elite Junior Golf Programme, weighs in on the most important elements in a child’s athletic development.
  • He offers this in conclusion…”Whilst participation development models that acknowledge physical, technical, and other assets do hold great value, a model that completely disregards any social aspects of development has to be questioned. Below are the important take home points”
  • “Social aspects underpin everything we do and an acknowledgement of unique social situations is paramount in youth development…Luck can often play a huge part in youth development…Children should not be judged or selected based upon something that is out of their control….Be aware of relative age effect/biological age…..(but, do not make it your priority as neurological age is more important than biological age!!…Talking to parents and children is the key catalyst to bridging the gap between development and social issues….The relationships we develop with children are critical to motivations and lifelong participation.”
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2 Comments

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  1. bill williams

    Nov 22, 2018 at 7:08 pm

    At least that five-some can walk and/or fly the golf course…. which is more than you can say about pot-bellied humans scurrying around in their golf carts.

    • ogo

      Nov 23, 2018 at 3:25 pm

      Turkeys can’t fly…. only waddle and gobble… and get roasted…!!

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Greg Norman: “If I had to do it all over again, I would go to one-length clubs”

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Greg Norman has never been a man to shy away from speaking his mind, and during Saturday’s Golf Channel broadcast of the QBE Shootout, the Australian declared that if he had the opportunity to begin his career again, he would do so with single-length irons.

Norman stressed how his experience while experimenting with Cobra King One Length irons led him to conclude that single-length irons are more beneficial than standard irons because “your spine angle stays the same” no matter what club you are using.

“Believe it or not, if I had to do it all over again as a 13 or 14-year-old, I would go to one-length clubs,” Norman said. “I actually had a set made for me when [Bryson DeChambeau] first came and joined, and I got it straight off the bat. When you think about it, my 4-iron and my 8-iron are the same length, but my ball flight was so good on all of them because your spine angle stays the same.”

The Australian went on to say that anyone looking to introduce their kid to the game of golf, should give them single-length irons to optimize their chances of success.

“I think parents now, for longevity, golf is a sport you can play your entire life, so if you look at that motion that [DeChambeau is] going through there, it’s such an effortless motion. He’s stacked up beautifully. At the end of the day, the motion is so simple through there. So the one-length golf club, in my humble opinion, give a kid at six, seven, eight…get him used to it and he’ll do well.”

Norman won 88 times in his career, including 20 wins on the PGA Tour and two major championship victories. Could the Shark have achieved even more if he had have used single-length irons during his career instead of standard irons?

Let us know what you think, GolfWRXers!

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Web.com Tour hopeful suffers heartbreaking finish to miss out on Tour status by one stroke

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With the careers of many players hanging in the balance at Web.com Tour Q-School, the agony of those who miss out matches the ecstasy of the few that make their way through the brutal process.

On Sunday, there was one particular man who suffered the agony of missing out more than others.

Patrick Sullivan was inside the top-40 and heading for his status on the Web.com Tour for 2019 before it all went wrong. Playing the back nine of Sunday’s final round, the 35-year old faced a birdie attempt on the 14th green but struck his ball off the green and into the water. Sullivan ended up making a costly double bogey on the hole and followed the error with another bogey on the 15th hole.

To his eternal credit, Sullivan showed incredible resolve. Needing to play his final three holes in four-under par, Sullivan managed to make a birdie and an eagle before heading to the final hole.

A three on 18 was a must, and Sullivan faced a nerve-jangling four-footer to claim his Web.com Tour status for next season. The putt, however, slid by, leaving him one shot outside of the magic number.

Golf can be a cruel sport at times.

Sullivan does, however, have conditional status for next year, meaning he will have the opportunity of playing events through Monday qualifiers.

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GolfWRX Morning 9: Louis king again | Q-School craziness

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By Ben Alberstadt (ben.alberstadt@golfwrx.com)

December 10, 2018

Good Monday morning, golf fans.
1. King again!
Louis Oosthuizen captured his home country’s open for his first win in three years.
  • Ryan Herrington writes…”Louis Oosthuizen was already the winner of a historic Open title, but on Sunday he claimed arguably a more meaningful one to the 36-year-old. With a closing 67 at Randpark Golf Club in Johannesburg, Oosthuizen posted a runaway six-stroke victory over France’s Romain Langasque at the South African Open, his home country’s oldest tournament.”
  • “I wish the family was here,” said a tearful Oosthuizen, ending a nearly three-year winless drought. “The crowd was great this whole week, it was nice to do it for them.”
  • “It was Oosthuizen’s eighth career European Tour triumph, four of which have come in events in South Africa. But this was the first time he’s won his country’s Open after playing in the event for the first time since a third-place finish in 2010.”
2. St. Simons boys triumph
Patton Kizzire and Brian Harman, both residents of St. Simons Island, joined forces to win the QBE Shootout.
  • PGATour.com’s Cameron Morfit …”We’re normally trying to get into each other’s heads,” Kizzire said after the St. Simons Island, Georgia duo shot a best-ball, final-round 61 in blustery weather to reach 30-under and win the unofficial QBE at Tiburón Golf Club. “And this week he was nice to me, which was kind of weird.”
  • Added Harman: “I was hoping I wasn’t going to throw him for a loop.”
  • “For the second straight year Graeme McDowell finished second, this time with a new partner, Emiliano Grillo. They made par on 18 to finish 29-under, one back.”
  • “Three teams shared third, two back: Charles Howell III and Luke List, who was 9-under on his own ball over the last nine holes as they shot 61; Kevin Na and Bryson DeChambeau (62); and Charley Hoffman and Gary Woodland (63), their highlight coming when Woodland aced the 202-yard 5th hole.”
3. A horrific stolen clubs story…with a happy ending
From our Gianni Magliocco…:”Web.com Tour Q-School is well known for being a gruelling process, and while 49 players graduated over the weekend, one man was forced to go to hell and back to do so.”
  • “Cody Blick sat three shots outside of the desired Top-40 heading into Sunday’s final round, and on waking up that morning to prepare for the biggest round of his life, the 25-year-old realized that his clubs had been stolen.”
  • “Blick took to social media immediately, desperately hoping that anyone could help him, offering $5k no questions asked should his clubs be returned.”
  • “Blick was unable to recover his clubs though, meaning he was forced to put together a mishmash of different clubs before Sunday’s final round. According to the Mackenzie Tour Twitter account, they consisted of the “Superintendent’s driver, pro shop’s wedges, random irons and a heavier than usual putter.”
  • “After all of that, Blick pulled off a miracle. The American fired a sensational round of nine-under par 63, which included birdies at his final three holes, to take him into the coveted Top-40.”
4. Walker: Q-School Medalist
PGATour.com Staff report...”With a tight leaderboard down the stretch at Final Stage of the Web.com Tour Qualifying Tournament, University of Virginia alum Danny Walker emerged from the pack to birdie his final three holes and claim medalist honors at 27-under at Whirlwind Golf Club. Coming from the fourth-to-last group, Walker posted an early 9-under 63 before waiting for his fate as the final groups finished. With the victory, Walker earns fully-exempt status on the Web.com Tour in 2019.”
  • “Players who finished top-40 (and ties) earned guaranteed starts next year. This year, the cutoff came at 18-under 270 with 49 players earning guaranteed starts.”
  • “I’m super excited right now – my goal was to come top-10 this week, so I wasn’t really thinking about winning,” Walker said. “But I’m excited about it now obviously and relieved to have the week done, it’s a stressful week for everybody so it feels good to play well.”
5. The Shark wishes he went single length!  
Here’s an interesting note (or maybe just a Cobra staffer hyping a product his sponsor has cornered the market on among major OEMs).
  • Golfweek’s Dan Kilbridge…”The equipment issue came up on air Saturday afternoon while Norman was watching Bryson DeChambeau. The 25-year-old has already picked up five PGA Tour wins using Cobra King One Length irons, and Norman said he wishes he could have put them in play when he first started out as an amateur.”
  • “Believe it or not, if I had to do it all over again as a 13 or 14-year-old, I would go to one-length clubs,” Norman said. “I actually had a set made for me when (DeChambeau) first came and joined Cobra Puma and I got it straight off the bat. When you think about it, my 4-iron and my 8-iron are the same length, but my ball flight was so good on all of them because your spine angle stays the same.”
  • “I truly do believe that,” Norman said. “I think parents now, for longevity, golf is a sport you can play your entire life, so if you look at that motion that (DeChambeau’s) going through there it’s such an effortless motion. He’s stacked up beautifully. At the end of the day, the motion is so simple through there. So the one-length golf club, in my humble opinion, give a kid at six, seven, eight … get him used to it and he’ll do well.”
6. Steph’s tourney to Lake Merced
Golf Channel’s Will Gray...”A new PGA Tour event in the Bay Area hosted by NBA superstar Steph Curry is now expected to debut next fall at Lake Merced Golf Club.”
  • “According to a San Francisco Chronicle report, the club’s membership voted “overwhelmingly” to approve an estimated $3.6 million in renovations that are viewed as a “prerequisite to holding the tournament.” The planned changes will reportedly be overseen by Rees Jones and could stretch the Daly City, Calfornia, course beyond 7300 yards.”
  • “Lake Merced has hosted an LPGA event four of the past five years, with Lydia Ko winning three times. It is slated to host the LPGA’s MediHeal Championship from May 2-5 next year. The Curry-hosted event is expected to take place in September as part of the fall portion of the 2019-20 season and likely close to the Safeway Open, which is annually played in Napa.”
7. LET in Limbo
Golfweek’s Alistair Tait…”The 2019 LET Qualifying School is scheduled Dec. 16-20 in Morocco. Once again, those players who earn one of the 25 cards have no idea how many tournaments they will play next year. The LET has yet to publish its 2019 schedule.
  • It cost $1,450 to enter this year’s Q-School. Imagine getting your dream job and having no idea where, when and if you’ll be working?”
  • “There were just 15 events on this year’s LET schedule. Two of those – the $3.25 million Ricoh Women’s British Open and $3.85 million Evian Championship – were majors and basically out of reach for most Q-School grads. The $1.5 million Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open is essentially an LPGA event and also is off-limits to most Q-School grads. In other words, those who earned cards were playing in low-purse events.”
  • “By low purses we’re talking between a low of $140,000 for the Jabra Ladies Open to $500,000 for the Hero Women’s Indian Open. The first four events on this year’s schedule were co-sanctioned with the Australian Ladies Professional Golf Tour. Two of those were worth just over $100,000. You don’t have to be a math genius to work out that traveling to, and accommodation in, Australia isn’t cheap. Even a top-10 finish in those events could leave players taking a loss on the week.”
8. Pining for the Q-School of yore?
According to the Forecaddie, some Tour vets are feeling a bit of nostalgia.
  • “For almost 50 years, the PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament was the coliseum for Sansabelt soldiers, where battle-scarred veterans and fresh-faced rookies fought it out over six days to earn their stripes. For every career launched at Q-School, many others crashed to earth. Stories from that make-or-break week are plentiful and almost always painful. Like Steve Haskins, a journeyman who entered the arena 14 times but never made it out with a Tour card.”
  • “Even those who survived the gauntlet have scar tissue. It’s been 35 years since Brad Faxon’s only trip to Q-School, but he can recall it with forensic detail still. Fall 1983, TPC Sawgrass, 108 holes with a cut after 72.”
  • “I shot 71 in the fourth round to move way up,” Faxon said. “Then rain and lightning came and they cancelled everybody’s scores. Next day I shot 76 and went from the top 10 to, like, 50th place.” He narrowly made the cut and secured a card that he kept for almost three decades.
9. Q-School heartbreak
Move over, Cody Blick…
  • Golf Digest’s Joel Beall…”Sullivan, a 35-year-old journeyman who missed 20 of 23 cuts on the Web.com Tour last season, looked to be in fine standing to retain Web status for 2019, in 23rd place heading into the final round of Q-School at Whirlwind G.C. in Chandler, Ariz. Unfortunately for Sullivan, on a day when the field went low, he hovered around par for 13 holes, and then had the bad fortune of finding the water on the 14th hole.”
  • Sullivan tweeted…”We’ve heard all the QSchool horror stories over the years. I was wondering if anyone had ever putted it into the water on the back nine to miss by one? If not…..dibs.”
  • “Sullivan ultimately made a double, and followed with a bogey on the 15th. And while he did mount a commendable charge, answering with a birdie on the 16th and eagle on the 17th, Sullivan missed a four-footer on the final hole.”

 

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